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Cristiano Ronaldo future latest: Pundit urges Erik ten Hag to ‘bite the bullet and get rid’ or risk wasting a year

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Paul Merson has told incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag he needs to move Cristiano Ronaldo on or risk wasting his first year in the hot seat at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag plans a big shake-up when he takes charge at the end of the season. A host of players are heading for the exit door with some big new signings expected. However it remains to be seen what will happen with Ronaldo.

United look to be rock bottom following the humiliating 4-0 loss at Brighton on Saturday. There will be no Champions League football next season and Ronaldo may not stick around without it. It will be the first time in 20 years he has not played in Europe’s elite competition if he stays.

Ten Hag will have spoken with Ronaldo but everyone else has been left guessing about what will happen. Some reports say that ten Hag is keen to keep the 37-year-old on board. Despite the fact he is looking to bring in a new striker. He believes that Ronaldo still has a big role to play.

However speaking in his column with the Daily Star, Merson believes that would be a big mistake. The former Arsenal star, turned pundit, says ten Hag will be wasting a year if he keeps him. He believes it is impossible to build for the future with Ronaldo in the squad.

Merson has even said that Ronaldo has been part of the problem this season. Despite scoring 24 goals in 37 appearances.

“Erik ten Hag must bite the bullet and get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo or he’ll waste his first year at Manchester United,” Merson wrote.

“If you’re bringing in a manager who’s going to be there for the next three or four years you can’t waste one on a striker who isn’t. Ronaldo has had a good season. But everyone else at the club has been atrocious. Why do you think that is?

“Some players bring out the best in those around them. Some players make them worse. That’s what Ronaldo has done. Look what Karim Benzema is doing for Real Madrid, he’s scored 43 goals this season. I don’t remember him doing that when Ronaldo was there.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has a role to play

Merson’s comments are harsh. And it is unfair to suggest that Ronaldo does not bring out the best in players. Many would argue no-one could inspire the current United crop.

Ronaldo cannot be expected to lift the United dressing room on his own. Although it seems he has given it a good shot. He has done his talking on the pitch. A lot of the others haven’t. Whether that is down to poor attitude or not being good enough.

Despite Merson’s comments, Ronaldo is surely worth keeping if everyone is on the same page. Ronaldo’s stats say it all this season and he could go around again in 2022/23. He is still scoring goals and contributing. Combined with ten Hag’s new arrivals he could have a huge role to play in turning things around next season.

He would have to accept however that he will not play every week. That may not appeal and could result in him moving on.

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Chelsea takeover: Todd Boehly makes Mount, James contract calls as exciting transfer plan outlined

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Prospective new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and his consortium have reportedly made fresh contracts for Reece James and Mason Mount a priority.

The Blues have faced an uncertain few months following the sanctions on previous owner Roman Abramovich. The situation has affected every aspect of the club, from fans’ attendance to player retention.

Indeed, key centre-back Antonio Rudiger has decided to move on as a free agent to Real Madrid. He grew frustrated at waiting for Chelsea, who still cannot tie players to new deals.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Stamford Bridge club. LA Dodgers chief Boehly is leading a group who have agreed terms to take Chelsea over.

And according to the Daily Mail, player contracts will subsequently be high on the investment agenda.

Indeed, Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss are ready to offer James and Mount new deals.

The England internationals rose through Chelsea‘s academy and have become a vital part of Thomas Tuchel’s team.

And partly because of the connection with the academy, the Blues want the pair on bumper new deals.

Mount’s current deal runs out in the summer of 2024 after he last signed on the dotted line in July 2019. James, meanwhile, last penned a new deal in 2020. His terms therefore expire in 2025.

Right wing-back James has made himself a crucial part of manager Thomas Tuchel’s system. Attacking midfielder Mount has scored 12 goals and assisted 15 others in 50 appearances this season.

Boehly plans key Chelsea talks

The Daily Mail adds that Boehly will pursue ‘A-list’ signings this summer.

At least one new centre-back is a key transfer mission, with Andreas Christensen leaving alongside Rudiger.

Boehly will in fact begin work on Chelsea’s summer spending this week. He will first look to meet with Tuchel to get the coach’s thoughts.

Boehly will also ask current transfer chief Marina Granovskaia and technical advisor Petr Cech for advice.

Blues need to get back on track

Chelsea came into the current season full of optimism following their Champions League triumph last season.

And they looked firm Premier League title challengers alongside Manchester City and Liverpool in the first few weeks of the season.

While the developments in Russia and Ukraine – and how they have affected Chelsea – could not have been predicted, the Blues need to refocus.

They can start by winning the FA Cup final next weekend, their second cup final clash of the campaign against Liverpool.

Indeed, Chelsea lost to the Reds on penalties in the Carabao Cup showpiece in February.

From there, Chelsea need a strong summer in the transfer market, addressing the issues at centre-back. Only then can they look towards putting up a proper fight for the Premier League title, which they have not won since 2017.

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Sam Johnstone future latest: Tottenham to win race as reasons for Man Utd reluctance emerge

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Sam Johnstone smiling during a West Brom match

Tottenham Hotspur are set to win the race to sign out-of-contract West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone this summer, according to a report.

The England international decided to run down his contract at the Hawthorns, making him available for free once the season has ended. A number of clubs were said to be interested, including Manchester United. However, it seems another top six club is now favourite to land the shot-stopper.

According to The Mirror, Spurs are set to sign Johnstone once his contract is finished.

The north London club are in need of some quality back-up for Hugo Lloris. Approaching 36 years of age, reinforcement is needed for someone who could take first-choice spot in the not-so-distant future.

Tottenham‘s current back-up is Pierluigi Gollini, who has been restricted to cup games this season. What’s more, he is only on loan from Atalanta and is unlikely to stay in London.

However, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy views Johnstone as someone with higher quality that can go head-to-head with Lloris for a spot in the team.

Johnstone has spent the last four years with West Brom and has been consistent between the sticks throughout.

However, he was left out the Baggies squad for the last five games of the season. Boss Steve Bruce decided to stand down the England keeper, accepting he would leave at the end of the season.

“With five games left, it’s only right that David Button plays,” Bruce told BBC Sport.

Sam Johnstone unlikely target for Man Utd return

There had been rumours that Man Utd were keen on landing Johnstone for free.

The keeper was first-choice for United’s academy in 2011, however, failed to make a league appearance for the club.

After a number of loan spells, Johnstone finally secured a permanent move to West Brom in 2018.

But following news Johnstone would not be renewing his contract in West Midlands, Man Utd reportedly had Johnstone back on their radar.

Now, it is believed his former club have pulled out the race for his signature. The board at Man Utd are believed to be happy with David De Gea and Dean Henderson already on their books.

The club believe that recruiting in other positions during the summer should be seen as more of a priority.

Indeed, incoming new manager Erik ten Hag faces a massive rebuilding job. Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Brighton made that even more crystal clear and the new boss is eyeing up a new centre-back, midfielder and striker.

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TRANSFER GOSSIP – MARCOS ALONSO IN BARCELONA MOVE

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Marcos Alonso and Christian Pulisic

Marcos Alonso has reportedly decided to leave Chelsea for Barcelona to follow in his father’s footsteps.

The Blues left-back initially developed in Real Madrid’s academy and moved to Stamford Bridge from Fiorentina in 2016.

But after six years in London, his future is unclear. He is also preparing to enter the final year of his Chelsea contract.

Reports in the past few weeks have claimed that Alonso has his heart set on moving back to Spain.

Furthermore, a move to Barcelona is his priority and negotiations are ongoing. According to The Mirror, Alonso’s big reason for wanting to move to Barca is to try to emulate his father.

Marcos Alonso Pena played for the Camp Nou club between 1982 and 1987 as an attacking midfielder and made 161 appearances for the club.

What’s more, he picked up 22 Spain caps in his career and so wants to take on the inspiration he has gained from his father.

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